Remaining Single or Marrying

Louis Rushmore

What “traits” (so to speak), if any, would you see in the Scriptures that would lead one to the conclusion that a person may be better fitted to be single rather than married? (I’m not speaking specifically of those who aren’t eligible to marry or to date, Matthew 19:9.)

From the second chapter of the Bible, Scripture anticipates that ordinarily a family will consist, initially, of a man and a woman (i.e., a husband and a wife). It was not God’s plan for man to be single or alone (Genesis 2:20-25). Yet, a person does not sin by remaining single (1 Corinthians 7:1, 7-8) as long as he or she neither violates New Testament prohibitions (1 Corinthians 15:34) or fails to perform directives in the Gospel of Christ (James 4:17). Since even conscientious Christians sometimes sin, though, there is a remedy in Jesus Christ for such times (1 John 2:1). However, we Christians dare not excuse ourselves from righteousness to commit sin while presumptuously relying on the grace of God (Romans 6:1-2).

Especially the young marry (Proverbs 5:18). Both testaments of the Bible address moral purity, especially as it pertains to youth.  For instance, the Book of Proverbs is particularly addressed “to the young man” (1:4). The New Testament also contains instruction for young men. “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” (Titus 2:6-8).

Sometimes though it is permissible to marry (1 Corinthians 7:28), it is wise not to marry because of present circumstances (1 Corinthians 7:26). Yet, to avoid burning with lust (1 Corinthians 7:9) and to avoid fornication (1 Corinthians 7:2), marriage is preferable and honorable before God (Hebrews 13:4). Naturally, though, the married must adequately devote attention to each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-5, 32-34), which naturally subtracts from one’s singular focus on serving Jesus Christ.

The unmarried must present themselves before God in a godly, morally pure way. They have the responsibility of serving our Lord Jesus Christ even more enthusiastically than married people. When, however, to remain morally pure it is time for one to marry, that is precisely what he or she ought to do—as long as he or she is biblically permitted to do so.